Department of English

Certificate in Professional Writing


Skill with written communication is crucial to career advancement in business, technology fields, the sciences, and other professional environments. A graduate in any discipline who is credentialed as a professional writer has greatly increased employability. The Certificate in Professional Writing advances writing skills by providing foundational education in rhetoric, design, and editing, and offering courses in areas including:

  • Business Writing
  • Science Writing
  • Multimedia Writing
  • Journalism
  • Publishing

The Certificate of Professional Writing is a separate credential that does not replace a student's major or minor. Any UNCW undergraduate may earn the certificate by completing 21 hours of coursework, including a writing internship (which requires a 3.0 major GPA). The student's transcript will list the certificate along with other degrees earned.

The certificate's Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) shape the overall program of study.


21 hours, as follows:

Mandatory courses (12 hours)

  • ENG 204: Introduction to Professional Writing
  • ENG 309: Technical Editing or ENG 310: Editing for Journalism and Mass Media
  • ENG 314: Digital Composing or ENG 319: Document Design
  • ENG 498: Internship in Writing (requires a 3.0 major GPA)

Remaining hours (9 hours)

Remaining hours are taken in writing courses, including the following:

  • ENG 202: Introduction to Journalism
  • ENG 302: Journalism Workshop
  • ENG 303: Reading and Writing Arguments
  • ENG 305: Professional Review Writing
  • ENG 308: Grant and Proposal Writing
  • ENG 309: Technical Editing
  • ENG 310: Editing for Journalism and Mass Media
  • ENG 311: Professional Magazine Writing
  • ENG 312: Writing Strategies for Business and Innovation
  • ENG 313: Writing About Science, Medicine, and the Environment
  • ENG 314: Digital Composing
  • ENG 315: Topics in Writing and Rhetoric
  • ENG 316: Analyzing Style
  • ENG 317: Writing About Film
  • ENG 318: Writing and Activism
  • ENG 319: Document Design
  • ENG 388: Rhetorical Theory to 1900
  • ENG 389: Rhetorical Theory Since 1900
  • ENG 393: Writing in the Scientific Disciplines
  • ENG 404: Advanced Professional Writing
  • ENG 412: Writing in Intercultural and Global Contexts
  • ENG 414: Writing for the Web
  • ENG 417: Research Methods in Professional Writing
  • ENG 496: Senior Seminar in Writing and Rhetoric
  • Approved writing courses in other departments also may be counted toward the 21 hours.

See printable Worksheet with requirements for students whose catalog year is Fall 2016 or after (opens as pdf).


The Certificate in Professional Writing appears in UNCW's catalog as a certificate degree option. See below for simple steps to register for the certificate.

  1. Login to UNCWSeaPort.
  2. Under the "Student Services" tab, click on "Major declaration/Curricular updates."
  3. Select "Add new degree."
  4. Under "Add new degree," select the following four drop-down options:
    • Valid Catalogs: current semester
    • Valid Colleges: College of Arts & Sciences
    • Valid Degrees: Certificate
    • Valid Majors: Certificate-Prof Writing
  5. Click "Add Degree."
Registering for the Certificate in Professional Writing